How Chef Dionicio Jiménez Created A Remarkable Restaurant in One of Philly’s Most Challenging Neighborhoods


Chef Dionicio Jimenez
Image via Cantina La Martina, Instagram.
Chef Dionicio Jimenez is the owner of Cantina La Martina, a restaurant in Kensington that serves as a bright spot in a neighborhood strife with challenges.

Chef Dionicio Jiménez is the creator of Cantina La Martina, a restaurant on Kensington that exists near the epicenter of the city’s opioid epidemic.

Despite it being relatively new to the scene, Cantina La Martina has received noteworthy praise as it just recently celebrated its second anniversary, writes Jason Sheehan for Philadelphia Magazine

In Cantina La Martina’s first year, Jiménez was named a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic region.

This year, he received another nod from the foundation, this time in the Outstanding Chef category.

“Calling Cantina La Martina an oasis is insulting, because it’s fully part of this neighborhood — with its Mexican music and weekend events on the fenced patio, killer happy-hour deals and Taco Tuesdays,” said Sheehan.

Each plate served at the authentic Mexican cuisine restaurant shows each step Jiménez has taken in his journey and what he’s learned along the way.

Its location in Kensington isn’t lost. 

“And while it’s beyond asking one restaurant to fix a problem as entrenched and multi-faceted as what exists outside the front doors, in a community that has had so much taken away from it, Cantina La Martina is giving a lot back,” said Sheehan. “They’re here. They’re part of the neighborhood. And they’re not looking away.”

Read more about what makes Cantina La Martina so special at Philadelphia Magazine.


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